There were some outstanding equine performances on Sunday,but I must admit that Charbel’s Peterborough Chase success was the one that impressed me most. He was taken on for the lead by two useful sorts (Art Mauresque and Rene’s Girl) and that pair were tailed off having locked horns with the Kim Bailey winner.
Charbel was cut from 25s to 14/1 for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in March although connections are not convinced the track suits given he has failed to complete in two previous Festival runs. Wherever he rocks up next, however, he is worth more than a passing interest.
Soft ground the order of the day at Uttoxeter this afternoon and Stop Talking (12.30) improved for the step up in trip when scoring at Ludlow last week and he can race from the same mark today as he goes unpenalized for that conditional jockey’s event. Jonjo O’Neill takes off a valuable 5lbs for local trainer Jennie Candlish who has her string in top form.
The Beginners Chase is an absolute belter with several bigyards represented by some very useful hurdlers having their first start over the larger obstacles. Nicky Henderson’s Chef Des Obeaux bombed out at Cheltenham and Aintree, but was the best of these over timber and had looked top class when running away with a Haydock Grade 2 Hurdle on bottomless ground at the beginning of the year.
Forza Milan is a half-brother to 2016 National winner One For Arthur but needed his seasonal reappearance last term. I have been waiting for Golden Sunrise to run in a Novices’ Handicap Chase for the last couple of weeks as I think he is potentially well treated off his mark of 126, but Colin Tizzard lets him take his chance in this competitive event. He is reluctantly overlooked, however, in favour of Any Drama (1.30) who is the each way recommendation returning from a 660 day lay-off.
The 7-y-old is trained by Harry Fry who has his string in top form. This inmate has been off the track since pulling up at the Festival in 2017 but looks sure to be fit and well for his reappearance. Any number of subsequent winners will come out of the race and the form is likely to stand up.
Volcano (2.30) looked to be crying out for a step up in trip when beaten less than 10l at Fontwell last time over two-and-a-half-miles. He steps up in trip this afternoon for Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies and he looks sure to be rated higher than his current mark of 115 in time.
Global Domination (3.00) is entitled to come on for his seasonal reappearance when he jumped well but faded into third. He had his wind operated on during the summer and he gets on well with Harry Skelton. I have been advocating Cougar’s Gold dropping back in trip from three miles for sometime now and the Bowen top-weight represents a big danger.
The Ogle Gogle Man (1.10) remains a maiden under rules but he looked an unlucky loser at Ludlow last time and can go one better this afternoon at Fontwell – albeit from a 5lbs higher mark.
Outofthisworld (2.40) is penalised 7lbs for winning at Market Rasen for Harry Fry and I hope she can follow up with Noel Fehily –brilliant on board Charbel on Sunday – keeping the ride.
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